Delta Dental and the Banner Health Foundation expand the HOPE dental program

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Delta Dental of Arizona and the Banner Health Foundation are expanding the Hospital Oral Care and Periodontal Disease Education program (HOPE).

Dr. Nimit Agarwal, Director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine, Banner UMC Phoenix, and Michael Jones, President and CEO of Delta Dental of Arizona, joined Arizona Horizon to discuss it.

The HOPE Foundation is expanding to all 28-acute care hospitals across Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, and Wyoming.

The expansion will implement an oral health protocol in their medical centers helping people become more informed about proper dental hygiene.

The program identified a health navigator, a nurse with special training in doing oral care, and they got assistance from a dental hygienist. Nurses were having challenges performing basic oral care because they didn’t have a systematic approach, according to Dr. Agarwal.

“In the hospital setting, we aren’t too worried about cavities, but what we are worried about is the infection in those cavities,” said Dr. Agarwal.

The HOPE Foundation entertains grant requests from a host of organizations throughout the state. “Banner Health was one of those companies that stepped up and raised our hand and wanted support for this medical dental integration program,” Jones said.

The program was supposed to last one year, but Banner Health was pleased with the results.

“A program like this helps elevate the overall results and the outcome of patients. A lot of people don’t realize that the body and the mouth are connected,” Jones said.

Dr. Nimit Agarwal, Director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine, Banner UMC Phoenix; Michael Jones, President & CEO, Delta Dental of Arizona

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